Dan Favale | Fri 19/01/2018 - 04:44 EST

Predictions for Every NBA Award at the 2017-18 Season's Halfway Mark

Predictions for Every NBA Award at the 2017-18 Season's Halfway Mark
With more than half of the 2017-18 NBA regular season in the books, it's time to start taking stock of the races for every year-end award—all seven major ones. Our picks are based off what we've seen so far this season, as well as what we also expect to happen from now through the end of the schedule. Runner-up's will be provided at every turn as well, for good measure.

Important housekeeping note: Odds aren't readily available on all these. Any lines we do get will come from some combination of Bovada, Sportbet, BetFair or Paddy Power. In the event we cannot find odds for you, none will be given. But we'll be making a pick anyway since these awards are important to team futures—which we will also talk about. And if you're interested in betting on a year-end honor that isn't readily accessible, contact your sportsbook. Online bet-takers are often willing to create wagers for their customers based off their own odds analysis.

Rookie Of The Year — Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers (-650)

Simmons

This pick is much closer than the sportsbooks would currently have you believe. Though Ben Simmons has been considered the runaway favorite since the first two weeks of the season, Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz is gaining ground.

The key difference between these two candidates actually favors Mitchell. When he's on the court without Ricky Rubio, the Jazz have the net rating of a surefire playoff team. By comparison, whenever Simmons plays without Joel Embiid, the Philadelphia 76ers have the point differential per 100 possessions of the absolute worst team in the league.

With both also posting gaudy per-game numbers, what makes us roll with Simmons? Well, for starters, the voters tend to gravitate towards the first favorite. Whenever what is perceived to be a clear choice emerges, however early, said player usually ends up winning. Mitchell would have needed to enter the conversation before early December to make a dent in Simmons' case.

And then there's the simple fact that Simmons has just been carrying the box score for longer. The Sixers have relied on him as their starting point guard and primary facilitator since basically Day 1. It took Mitchell a little more time to crack the Jazz's rotation, since they were supposed to be a playoff team.

Nevertheless, keep an eye on this. If Mitchell leads Utah back into the playoff picture, or should Philly plunge down the Eastern Conference's standings, the race will be far from over.

Runner-Up: Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz (+400)

Most Improved Player: Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers (Off)

oladipo

We needn't spend to much time here. Victor Oladipo is the clear choice—which explains why sportsbooks aren't currently offering a ton of odds.

BetFair actually does allow you to wager on Most Improved Player. But of the 25 players listed on their docket, Oladipo isn't one of them. He was so far off the radar following his trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Indiana Pacers that his odds would have been astronomical to start the year. And now, with him emerging as the unquestioned favorite, it's pointless for websites to actually list him. He's that far ahead of the pack.

Both Kristaps Porzingis (-1000) and Aaron Gordon (+100) looked like they could enter the running earlier in the season. But Porzingis' efficiency has plummeted, while Gordon has suffered from injuries, a dip in efficiency and a team-wide protracted slump.

After Oladipo, Spencer Dinwiddie is the next best option—and he, too, is left off the docket, because he wasn't on anyone's radar to start the year either.

Runner-Up: Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets (Off) 

Sixth Man Of The Year: Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers (+100)

williams

You won't find much variance when looking at Sixth Man of the Year odds. Sure, you'll be able to suss out some super long shots. But all the most viable options will have eerily similar odds. 

That's how close this race is at the moment. And yet, it's not really all that close at all. 

Tyreke Evans has started too many games now, so he's not even on the list of options. Dwyane Wade (+100) has tapered off after a scorching hot stretch. Andre Iguodala (+100) never got his jump shot going and has been touch-and-go at the defensive end.

Noticing a trend here? Most legitimate candidates are a +100. That's how this thing works. And while that could be a pain in some years, it's a borderline godsend now. 

Lou Williams is now the prohibitive favorite, even though he's on equal ground with Wade and Iguodala, among others. The Los Angeles Clippers have been starting him in recent weeks, and there's a chance he gets traded before the Feb. 8 deadline, but if he continues to qualify as a bench player, his 26.1 points and 5.6 assists per 36 minutes on absurd efficiency won't allow anyone to beat him for this honor. 

Runner-Up: Will Barton, Denver Nuggets (+100)

Defensive Player Of The Year — Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (+3400)

embiid

Defensive Player of the Year is an incredibly tough competition to crack right now. Injuries to Kawhi Leonard (+100) and Rudy Gobert (+100) have removed them from consideration, while Draymond Green (+100) has sportsbooks somewhat hedging because he's not being asked to do as much this season.

Either Paul George (+400) or Andre Roberson (+400) qualifies as a nice pick, but as teammates, they'll be taking votes away from one another. And after them, there really isn't much.

Except Joel Embiid.

The Sixers aren't yet an elite defensive team, but they play like the league's stingiest unit when their behemoth is on the floor. Mix in the shots he swallows at the rim, along with his understated switchability, and he figures to be the absolute best options by season's end.

Sportsbooks haven't yet caught on to this development. BetFair never even listed him among their choices, and Paddy Power still, as of now, has him laying +3400. But you'll want to pounce on that soon. If it hasn't already changed following his selection to the 2018 All-Star Game in Los Angeles, you can bet your bottom dollar it will imminently.

Runner-Up: Al Horford, Boston Celtics (+3300) 

Coach Of The Year — Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics (-5000)

stevens

Another easy pick—and the odds show it.

Some people didn't think the Boston Celtics would be all that great this year to begin with. Sure, they signed Gordon Hayward, drafted Jayson Tatum and traded for Kyrie Irving. But they turned over more than two-thirds of last year's roster in the process.

That type of cosmetic instability is always good. Just look at any of LeBron James' early Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers. They all took time to mesh. Hell, Cleveland is still trying to figure out a way to coexist after last summer's rampant shakeup.

With Hayward suffering a season-ending injury on opening night, the Celtics should be cooked. And yet they're not. They have the Eastern Conference's best record and are getting stellar performances from everyone—including a second-year leap from Jaylen Brown, third-year jump from Terry Rozier and rookie-year breakout from Daniel Theis.

Brad Stevens deserves to be recognized for this. And, failing something sinister over the last half of the year, he most certainly will be.

Runner-Up: Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs (+100)

Executive Of The Year — Danny Ainge, Boston Celtics (Off)

ainge

Take everything we said about Brad Stevens and apply it to Danny Ainge. The party doesn't change.

Despite engaging in a questionable amount of activity over the offseason, Ainge, it turns out, assembled a roster capable of weathering injuries and giving the Cavaliers a run for their regular-season money. Who knew?

He'll likely runaway with honor, though Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and Toronto Raptors team president Masai Ujiri have an outside chance of sneaking into the running.

Runner-Up: Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets (Off)

MVP — Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (+1650)

curry

Controversial pick? Maybe. 

James Harden (+110) was considered the clear cut favorite in this department for so long. But his hamstring injury opened the door for someone to gain on him. And Stephen Curry absolutely did.

The Golden State Warriors see their net rating plummet by more than 10 points per 100 possessions when he steps off the floor—a swing greater than those experienced by the Cavaliers and Rockets when LeBron James (+150) and Harden, respectively, step off the court.

Beyond that, Curry's individual numbers are absurd—particularly since he returned from his 11-game stay on the sidelines with an ankle injury. On the season overall, in fact, he's posted the highest true shooting percentage of his career. And when you consider he set his personal best in 2015-16, when he turned in the greatest offensive performance in league history, yes, that's saying something.

Runner-Up: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers (+150)

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Category : Sports Betting News

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